The Citroen C3 Aircross is getting an update for the 2021 model year. Which sounds like a rather bland and uninspiring fact, doesn't it? So, let's instead quote liberally from the official Citroen press release, which is rather more entertaining. Amidst the usual data over the new styling, and the new seats, and the upgraded cabin, there are little flashes of Francophone poetry.
Serenity AND adventure
Such as the claim that the new C3 Aircross will be capable of 'bringing serenity to active lifestyles.' Well, I can tell you that my active lifestyle could certainly do with a touch more serenity. The Aircross is also, apparently, equipped with: 'technologies that simplify life, and heighten adventure.' Well, that's more like it, eh?
OK, let's get on with the rather more mundane details. The C3 Aircross does indeed get new styling, mostly at the front, where there's a new grille, lights, and front bumper that gives it more of a 'shovel-nosed' look. There are also new body-protection side mouldings, skid-plates, and roof bars, so the whole thing looks a bit more chunky, and a bit less apologetic.
Those new lights get a new LED daytime running 'signature' while the bonnet is also set a little higher up, for a more SUV-ish look, and presumably slightly better pedestrian impact protection.
There are also some new colour choices, including 'Khaki Grey', 'Voltaic Blue' and 'Polar White' and these can be mixed and matched with colour themes called 'Anodised Orange' and 'Anodised Dark Blue' which add accent colours to the leading edges of the front skid plate, on the door mirrors and on the rear-quarter lights. The little painted 'louvres' in the rear quarterlight have also now been updated with, depending on the colour scheme you pick, a new 'cube' effect. There are also white or black contrasting roof colours, and Citroen claims that there are now 70 new exterior colour and trim combos.
Cabins with ambience
You can choose from 16 or 17-inch alloys with either a fully-black colour scheme or a diamond-cut effect, while inside there are three choices of 'ambience.' Now, the standard models don't seem to get an 'ambience' as such - just plain grey on everything. However, you can upgrade to a 'Metropolitan Graphite' which includes "a graphite leather-effect material with a flecked grey fabric, alongside a strip on the upper part of the seat backrests and a dashboard strip in flecked grey for a cosy and modern look." Or, there's the 'Hype Grey' ambience, which features "grey-green leather and black leather-effect fabric, a grey-green leather dashboard strip and strips on the upper backrests with a chevron motif."
Rather more important than that is the fact that the C3 Aircross now gets the latest generation of Citroen's 'Advanced Comfort' seats. The seats are a little more generously sized, for those of us bringing our own padding, and they get foam that is 15mm thicker, for extra comfort. There's also more support, so you don't get backache on a long journey.
The overall structure of the car hasn't changed, so interior space remains the same as before, but Citroen claims that it's still the roomiest car in the class. The rear bench seat can slide back and forth by 150mm to maximise either rear legroom or luggage space. Boot volume can be increased from 410 litres to 520 litres with the rear bench placed in its forward-most position. Up to 1,289 litres is available with the rear bench fully folded down. There's also a panoramic roof option to make the cabin feel even airier than it is.
Now, what are those 'technologies that simplify life and heighten adventure'? Well, they're mostly a new touchscreen, nine inches across this time. It includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and there's wireless phone charging too. Citroen says that the C3 Aircross has: "12 intuitive driving aids that simplify everyday life and make each journey easier and safer." Some of these are optional, but they do include a colour heads-up display; a speed sign recognition; automatic emergency braking; auto high beam; keyless entry, parking assistant; and a 'Top Rear Vision' reversing camera.
Grip Control for extra traction
If you think that the C3's chunky styling means that it can manage some off-roading... well, you're wrong. But you can spec it with Citroen's clever GripControl traction control system, along with hill descent control, which should make it a little easier to tackle the odd unmade back road, or scramble up a steep driveway in icy weather.
Engine-wise, the C3 Aircross is more or less unchanged, with the familiar 1.2-litre 'PureTech' petrol engine in 110hp or 130hp forms (the latter coming with a six-speed automatic gearbox). Or, you can have a diesel 1.5 BlueHDI with either 110hp or 120hp (again, that latter one coming with an 'auto box). Oddly, given that the C3 Aircross platform shares with the Peugeot 2008, the DS 3 Crossback, and the new Opel Mokka, there's no word of an all-electric model with the fast-becoming-ubiquitous 136hp electric motor and 50kWh battery.
"The new Citroen C3 Aircross expresses modernity and originality with a true SUV attitude, featuring unmatched roominess and modularity, and technologies that make everyday life easier. We wanted to capitalise on these strong points, creating a more mature vehicle in the expression of its design and extra comfort on board. Its face has been updated radically with a more angular and assertive front-end, and the new seat construction reinforces the well-being experience inside the vehicle. New C3 Aircross ticks all the boxes of an SUV "by Citroen" and has all the assets to continue its commercial success" said Vincent Cobée, Chief Executive Officer, Citroen
If you fancy heightening your adventure while bringing serenity to your active lifestyle, then keep an eye out at your local Citroen dealer in June.